New Edgartown fire chief sworn in

Retiring Fire Chief Peter Shemeth salutes incoming Fire Chief Alex Schaeffer at Monday night's selectmen's meeting.

Alexander J. Schaeffer was sworn in as the Edgartown’s new fire chief at Monday’s selectmen’s meeting.

Mr. Schaeffer is taking over for Chief Peter Shemeth, whose official retirement date was Jan. 9. Chief Shemeth will turn 65 years old this month, which is mandatory retirement age.

Selectmen unanimously endorsed Mr. Schaeffer’s appointment.

Mr. Schaeffer has been with the department since 1996. In May 2016, he earned accreditation by the Massachusetts Fire Service Commission for the position of chief.

Chief Shemeth had been with the fire department for more than 40 years, and has been chief since 2006, when he replaced longtime Chief Antone A. Bettencourt.

“I couldn’t do it alone,” Chief Shemeth said, after a long round of applause. “My family has given up a lot, and my extended family, all of you, have given up just as much. When I was worried about becoming chief, they said, Surround yourself with the best possible people. I can say honestly I accomplished that. The people I have are nothing but the best.”


  1. Hopefully he’s not without understanding. Edgartown doesn’t need another ISLAND family member or brought in from another Island police force- to be chief of Police in Edgartown. We Already see this does not work.
    I commend Interim Chief Doldy, be the first to recognize the diversity on the Island, agree to internal problems, and ask for “Forward Thinking” in rectifying an ongoing problem. The ocean does not insulate, best to reevaluate the condition of the blinders, relative to the Island’s police force’s. Lets not parlay Officer Santon in VH, and how we can go back era’s to the OB force. If we honestly address, assess, and accept, there is room for improvement. Let’s all support positive change, recognize the problems and move forward.
    Officer Dolby, undoubtedly, struggled with this, and in the best interest of OUR ISLAND, is not the first to mention this publicly, It’s just the first time the news put precedent upon the issue. Do not blame someone for conceding to the ongoing problem, let’s award the news for finally getting it out there. No one’s at fault, when keeping silent, we are all at fault for not bringing a forum to fix it.

  2. Wrong public service department but what’s wrong with Hiring someone familiar with the island and the job?

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